Marburg

Woooah, I’m halfway there-eeere…

This is number 15 in my series of 30 German towns before 30!

The River Lahn
The River Lahn in Marburg

I went to Marburg with Jan in October 2007 to visit his sister, who was studying there at the time. She was studying Art History, which already tells you something about the differences between Karlsruhe and Marburg. I’m not even sure you can study something as frivolous as art here! Karlsruhe is all about computer science and mechanical engineering!

Capital of the Federal state of Hessen from 1485 – 1500, and again between, 1567 and 1605, these days Marburg is best known for its university, which is the oldest Protestant-founded university in the world.

One of the must-see buildings in Marburg is the castle, so of course that was one of the first places we went.

At the castle
At the castle

Like all the best castles, the Marburg one is located on a hill, meaning we were able to get some excellent views of the city. The fact that it was a beautiful autumn day also helped, of course.

Marburg, viewed from the castle
Marburg, viewed from the castle

After checking out the castle, we took a walk through Marburg to the other side of the valley, where there is a tower (the Kaiser Wilhelm tower). On our way through town, we walked down some beautiful streets, such as this one:

Marburg

To get to the tower, we first had to walk up a hill through some woodland. It was a bit like being in Narnia (after the banishing of the White Witch and all her snow, obviously).

Marburg woods

Emerging from the woods, we finally found ourselves at the tower. It’s 36m high, which meant a lot of steps to climb, but the view from the top was definitely worth the effort.

The top of the tower
The top of the tower
View from the tower
View from the tower

We picked exactly the right part of autumn for our trip – while the days were still warm and the leaves hadn’t left the trees yet, but were still at that beautiful reddy-orangey stage.

Autumn trees

The next day we had breakfast at one of Marburg’s most alternative cafes – Cafe am Grün. It’s quite a studenty place – with prices to match – and the coffee literally comes in a bowl! I couldn’t actually finish mine before it went cold. We sat inside, but it does have a back garden, which is right on the River Lahn. I can imagine it would be a beautiful place to sit and enjoy a coffee or a meal in summer.

We also went to the New Botanic Gardens, which are outside of town. It seems I didn’tactually  take any photos there (at least I can’t find any). Most of the flowers were of the summer variety so there wasn’t much to see. I’m sure it would have been amazing in summer though!

Unfortunately, I had to leave later that day as I had work the next morning. Jan stayed on for a couple of days and probably managed to see a bit more than I did, but what I did manage to take in was definitely worth the trip!

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Rhodt unter Rietburg

Time to return to my 30 German towns before 30 series…

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Jan and I went to Rhodt unter Riedburg in April 2011 on the recommendation of a friend. The village is located in the Südliche Weinstraße (Southern Wine Route) area of Rhineland Palatinate and they’ve been making wine there for more than 1,200 years!

A field of future wine!
A field of future wine!

The Rietburg in the place name is a castle (now ruins), which is located on the Blättersberg, a small mountain (some might say hill) just outside the village. Hence, the name of the village literally means Rhodt under the Rietburg.

We were told that the path leading up the mountain through the woods was a nice walk, so after parking the car in the village and grabbing an ice cream (YUM!) we set off to check it out. Our route took is through the fields of grapes. Here, you can see our destination – the top of the mountain – and on the right Villa Ludwigshöhe, which was the summer residence of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

Blättersberg and Villa Ludwigshöhe

Part way up the mountain, we spotted these guys, who I just had to take a photo of:

Owls in the woods

Now that’s the kind of art that appeals to me! It was a nice, sunny day but thankfully not too hot – climbing mountains (or even hills) when it’s boiling is no fun!

I kept stopping to take photos and catch my breath (I was – and am – sooo unfit!), which annoyed Jan slightly. But how could I not when it was all so pretty?

Eventually, we did reach the top though. The remains of the Rietburg castle are now a restaurant, and there is also a platform from where you can see the view.

We decided to eat at the restaurant there, and I tried Saumagen (sow’s stomach) for the first time. Well, it is a speciality of the Pfalz (Palatinate), and you know what they say about when in Rome… It was quite salty but not as bad as it sounds. I’d probably give it about an 8 out of 10.

Behind the castle, there is a wildlife enclosure, so after eating we went to have a look at that. Aren’t the deer pretty?

 

 

There was nothing more to see on the mountain, so we took the chairlift down and walked back to the village via the vineyards again.

Grapes

On the way back through the village, I spotted this. I thought it was rather nice.

Sign

And then I had to take a photo of this little street because I loved the blue shutters on the house on the right!

Rhodt unter Rietburg

There wasn’t a great deal to do in Rhodt and I can’t imagine it being very interesting on a rainy day, but our friend was right about the Blättersberg being a great place to go for a walk. The food at the restaurant up there was good (and not too expensive) and I also tried some local white wine, which I really enjoyed. The Villa Ludwigshöhe usually has art exhibitions, but was unfortunately closed for a private event when we were there, and they also have a Fest des neuen Weines (New Wine festival) in September of each year. On a sunny day, I would recommend not only climbing the mountain, but also having a look around the village. There are some really pretty buildings! And if you don’t go on a Sunday (as we did) you might even be able to buy a few bottles of the local wine…

Mosbach

On Sunday we went to Mosbach to see a friend perform with her choir at the Stiftskirche (Collegiate Church) there. We arrived pretty early and the church wasn’t open yet, so we decided to have a bit of a walk around and go for coffee.

I initially thought Mosbach was a village, but my boyfriend assures me it’s a town and Wikipedia tells me it has a population of 24,233, so I guess he’s right.
The drive to Mosbach from Karlsruhe took about an hour and 15 minutes (for those who know the area, it’s in between Heidelberg and Heilbronn). It lies on the Deutsche Fachwerkstrasse (German Half-timbered Road), from which I’m sure you can guess what there is to see there…

Yep, it’s another town that’s full of half-timbered houses. Here are some (sorry the photo’s a bit dark):

Those of you who have been reading for a while will have gathered by now that I’m a fan of this kind of architecture. For any new readers, in a nutshell: I LOVE half-timbered buildings! They always make me think of houses in fairytales.

Here is Mosbach town hall (the building with the clock), which I thought was a church when I first saw it (and Wikipedia tells me I was correct – it started life as St. Cecelia’s Catholic Church until Otto-Henry, Elector Palatine, ordered it to close because he refused to tolerate Catholics in his principality). Again, much prettier than Karlsruhe’s excuse for a Rathaus (I haven’t forgotten that I promised you a photo of it for comparison, I just haven’t been in town with my camera recently).

The town’s emblem is the Palmsches Haus (Palm House – the words “Anton Palm” are engraved on one corner of the building, so Palm is presumably the surname of the original owner). Naturally, I failed to take a photo of that despite getting one of the bulding next to it, so you’ll have to make do with this one from Wikipedia:

Description in de wikipedia Bildbeschreibung: ...Here is the church where we went to see our friend perform. It is used as both an Evangelical and a Catholic church. The Catholic part is known as St. Juliana while the Evangelical bit (where we were) is the Stiftskirche. It’s quite nice inside, too, but I didn’t actually manage to take any photos in there.

After the performance, we went to a Greek restaurant called Artemis. The food was good, but the service was incredibly slow. Also, my friend who is lactose intolerant ordered the salmon filet and it turned out to be in a bowl surrounded by creamy/cheesy potatoes. No mention of that on the menu!

Mosbach is very pretty to look at, but there doesn’t seem to be a great deal to do there. There is a town museum (I think almost every German town has one!) and a castle that you can look at but not go in, so the best time to visit Mosbach would be on a warm, sunny day when you can walk around and look at things without getting cold.

A cute street in Mosbach

Friday letters

It’s Friday again! Always a good day in my world, but even better this week because I took the day off to use up some overtime, and because my colleague and I agreed right at the beginning of the year that we would take two each of this year’s four bridge days (yesterday, was a holiday in my part of Germany – for All Saints Day). Here are this week’s Friday letters:

Dear four-day weekend. You have been fun so far. I’m really glad we still have 2 days to spend together.

Dear weather. Thank you for being terrible on Thursday, when we were staying in anyway,  and brightening up today in time for our trip to Schwäbisch Hall.

Dear Schwäbisch Hall. You are pretty. I’m so glad I chose you as the next place to cross off on my list of 30 German towns before 30.

Dear boyfriend. Thank you for making such a supreme effort to come home at a reasonable time each night, and even calling/texting to let me know you’re leaving. I appreciate this more than you know. Also, thank you for driving to Schwäbisch Hall. To get their by train we would have had to change trains at least once (in Crailshaim, journey time 4 hours) and at most six times. SIX! By car it takes 1 hour 36 minutes (in theory). It’s a good job one of us can drive…

Dear sore throat. Please go away. I am invited to a birthday meal tomorrow night and I intend to go.

That’s all folks. Here’s a photo I took in Schwäbisch Hall. A proper post about our day trip will follow, too.

For more Friday letters check out:
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Worms (not the squishy, wiggly kind)

I thought it was about time I did another post for my 30 German towns before 30 thing, otherwise I’m never going to get past 5 (despite the fact that I have definitely been to more than 5 places in Germany!), so I went through all my old photo albums and came up with… Worms. To pronounce it, think of the English word warm, then add an s to the end and pronounce the W as if it were a V. That comes somewhere close to the German pronunciation (it really has nothing to do with the wiggly invertebrates… that would be Wurm in German).

Worms is famous (well… for a given value of “famous”) for a few reasons. The first is that it has what is thought to be the oldest Jewish cemetry in situ in the world. Yes, that would be the one in the photo above. The second is due to its connections with the Nibelungenlied. For those that aren’t familiar with it, it’s a mediavel epic poem/saga – basically like a German version of Beowulf, except Beowulf kills a monster whereas the hero in the Nibelungenlied slays a dragon then bathes in its blood… as you do. Actually, while we were in Worms they had loads of dragons everywhere, sponsored by various shops and things. I’m not sure whether they had anything to do with the Nibelungenlied, but they looked pretty cool. Here’s the one sponsored by Sparkasse (a bank, hence the coin in the dragon’s back).

Oh, there’s another thing Worms is known for, at least if you have a clue about the Lutherean church (which I don’t). Does the Diet of Worms say anything to you? No, it has nothing to do with the eating of invertebrates (ick!) In this particular case, a Diet is an assembly, and this particular assembly was held at Worms. Hence the Diet of Worms – suddenly it all makes sense. Maybe. One thing that came out of the Diet of Worlms was the Edict of Worms, a decree by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (later Charles I of Spain) which said “[…] we forbid anyone from this time forward to dare, either by words or by deeds, to receive, defend, sustain, or favour the said Martin Luther”. I don’t have to tell you who Martin Luther was, do I? Good, ’cause that’s enough of a history lesson for one day!

We were in Worms at Easter, which was the end of March that year (2008 in case you were wondering), so theoretically spring, but it was COLD, so we didn’t actually spend that much time walking around. Instead we went into the Nibelungen Museum, which is interesting but the audio tour takes AGES. It’s built inside the old town walls, which is cool but means it isn’t exactly warm! Here’s a not-that-brilliant photo of the town walls (these were taken with my old digital camera, which was even cheaper and lower quality than the one I have now). The bit along the top under the roof is where you walk along as part of the audio tour of the museum.

Worms is a nice little town with quite a lot of history behind it – it may even be the oldest town in Germany (Trier also lays claim to the title). We went into the town museum, which was interesting with loads of maps showing how the town has developed over the years. I would recommend choosing a slightly warmer day than we did though! Here are few more photos. I didn’t actually get that many though, what with us spending most of the time trying to hide from the cold…

Cathedral
Inside the cathedral
Town Hall
River Rhine, viewed from the Nibelungen Bridge

30 German towns before 30

So, in my last post I mentioned that I recently reached the grand old age of 29 (on 13 August in case you’re interested). This means I will be 30 next year… something that I find I am not dreading quite as much as 29. After all, I have a whole year until then. 365 days to come to terms with the fact that I will no longer be a 20-something. Reaching 29, on the other hand, made me realise that the chances of me achieving many of the things I wanted to before I turned 30 have now been reduced to almost zero. But so that I won’t have too many regrets once I do reach the big 3-0, I decided I need to achieve something in the next year. And so I hit upon the idea of visiting 30 German towns before turning 30. Obviously including the ones I’ve already been to – I don’t get that much time off you know! But to make things slightly more difficult, I’m only going to include places that I have actual photographic evidence of and can remember enough about to write a blog post on them. This is mostly because I took a European trip with my grandparents when I was 17, and while it did involve a few days in Germany, I can’t even remember the names of most of the places we visited never mind what there was to see there! This means that so far I’m up to 5 places – that being the number of German towns that have already been included in my blog. (Click on the name of the town below to read my post on it).

  1. Heidelberg
  2. Calw
  3. Würzburg
  4. Ettlingen
  5. Tübingen

More shall be added as a dig out photos from my various trips around Germany and get round to blogging about them and, of course, visit more places. For now though, I need to do some work (overtime… yay) and then start cooking. Ciao for now!